Edifier Sound to Go

Dave Bullard - Managing Editor
25 January, 2011
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Edifier Sound to Go

Edifier, www.edifier-international.com

Pros 

Good sound for the price and size; very well made; doesn’t need batteries; works with iPad running iOS 3.2.

Cons 

Sound might not be big enough for some people

$49.95

Reviews

Edifier’s little Sound To Go is great for notebooks – and some iPads.

The iPad is great to take away on trips, but it’s crying out for good sound. Its internal speakers are very good indeed for their size, but that size is XXS.

There are plenty of powered speaker sets around – either battery- or mains-powered – but what you really want for ease of use, especially when travelling, is a model that takes its power from the iPad itself. The trouble is, no one makes one.

For this review, I was using my MacBook Pro to test the Edifier Sound To Go – a compact unit housing a row of speakers and made to plug into a desktop or portable computer via USB – when I had a ‘Eureka!’ moment. Why not try connecting it to the iPad using Apple’s handy iPad Camera Connection Kit?

It was a long shot, as the iPad doesn’t produce enough power to pass on to most USB peripherals, but I plugged the Sound To Go’s USB cable into the small, white Apple adaptor, and plugged that into
the iPad.

It worked! No extra power or fiddling around needed. And the Edifier Sound To Go is now my favourite iPad accessory – with a caveat. I tested it on several iPads running iOS 3.2.2 without a problem, but connecting it to one running iOS 4.2 brought up the error message, “Accessory Unavailable. The attached accessory uses too much power.”

The unit itself has a V-shaped profile, with a 26cm-long silver metal body wrapping around a black metal grille 3.6cm high. It houses
full-range, magnetically shielded 30mm x 70mm speaker drivers and a bass reflection port.

On one end are ports for USB and 3.5mm AUX input, while on the other is a simple button for volume control – press briefly to increase the volume, and press and hold to decrease it. Clever.

That AUX input can be used to connect any audio device, but the Sound To Go still has to be plugged into your Mac to get its power.

In another effort to ditch the Mac element to the iPad-Sound To Go configuration, I tried plugging the Edifier’s USB cable into both an iPhone and iPad wall-charger. It worked with both, but the metal casing got a ‘furry’ electrical feeling when I touched it so I’m not sure this would be a recommended use!

Even though it’s small – it’s just the length of a MacBook’s keyboard – the Sound To Go punches above its weight when it comes to sound. You’re never going to get huge bass in a unit this size, but what the Sound To Go gives you is a rich sound with such a good tonal balance down to mid-bass that its absence is hardly noted.

Output is a total of 4W, so you’re not going to fill a room. But I found that I could happily listen to a movie from the couch to the
coffee table.

One last point: If you do buy a Sound To Go for your iPad, you need to connect it to the adaptor first, then plug the adaptor into your iPad. If you connect things the other way around you’ll get an error message.

Australian Macworld’s buying advice. The Edifier Sound To Go is good for desktop Macs, great for laptop Macs and a cracker for iPads – when paired with a $39 iPad Camera Connection Kit. (Just be aware that we only got it to work with iOS 3.2.) Its benefits to travellers are its size, its light weight (just 300g), the fact that it doesn’t need batteries, and its soft, drawstring carrying case. Its very reasonable recommended price of $49.95 just adds to its appeal.

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